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Eurobites: BT, Openreach Separation Back in the Spotlight

Ray Le Maistre

In today's EMEA regional roundup: The ownership heat is on BT and its fixed access division Openreach once again; TDC's planned merger with MTG could unravel; plus mobile market growth in Nigeria and news from Open Fiber and Huawei, Scottish ISP Commsworld and Mitel.

  • The case for a complete separation of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and its access network division Openreach is once again under consideration by the UK government, according to a Daily Telegraph report. Currently, a "legal separation" puts a virtual wall between Openreach and BT but for some, especially, BT's rivals, spinning Openreach out into a completely independent company is the only way to ensure any fairness in the access network market. Openreach recently announced a 'Fibre First' strategy but this appears to have done little to appease the UK government, regulator Ofcom and BT's critics. (See Eurobites: Openreach Finally Puts 'Fibre First', Vodafone UK Boss Slams Openreach 'Stranglehold' and Only BT's Dismemberment Will Sate Rivals.)

  • Following last week's news that Danish national operator TDC Group has rejected a takeover approach from Australia's Macquarie and three Danish pension funds, it has announced that "if an offer for all shares of TDC is made," its board would withdraw its recommendation that TDC should merge with digital entertainment specialist MTG Nordics, a planned deal announced at the start of February. Of course, TDC adds that " there can be no certainty that the current discussions will lead to the potential bidder making an offer," but it seems very likely...

  • The mobile services market in Nigeria is growing, with the total number of customers at almost 145 million at the end of 2017, but one of the top four players, 9mobile, is shrinking. Find out why, and who leads that market, by reading the latest news update from our sister publication Connecting Africa. (See 9mobile Loses More Market Share as it Awaits New Owner.)

  • Italian wholesale operator Open Fiber is deploying complink 14155|Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd}'s SDN-enabled 200G Elastic OTN system in its optical transport backbone. (See Italy's Open Fiber to Deploy Huawei's 200G Elastic OTN Platform.)

  • Scottish ISP Commsworld has landed a £30 million (US$41.6 million) deal from Glasgow City Council to upgrade and expand the city's fiber network infrastructure to significantly boost connectivity to local government buildings (including schools and libraries) as well as provide a backbone for business and household broadband connectivity. For the full details, see this press release.

  • Mitel Networks Corp. says it now has more than 1 million users hooked up to its service provider cloud solutions. "Organizations across Europe are increasingly aware of the potential cloud-based communications and collaboration offer for ensuring scalability and future-proofing businesses… Mitel is playing a crucial role in accelerating the move to the cloud and service providers are a key delivery channel for us," noted Jeremy Butt, Mitel Senior Vice President of EMEA, in a company announcement. Mitel, which boasts second place in the global Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) sector by market share (Synergy Research, Q3 CY2017), bolstered its cloud offering following the acquisition of Shoretel last year. Mitel had more than 3.8 million total cloud users at the end of the third quarter 2017. (See Mitel, ShoreTel Deal Emphasizes UC in the Cloud.)

    — Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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